DEARBORN, Mich. - There was an impressive show of support Wednesday in Dearborn for an organization that many people don't know about.
Humble Designs is a group that helps people who used to be homeless furnish their homes. The need is massive, but now there's a new source of help: a warehouse filled with everything they need to start their lives over again.
Basim Alkhafaji said it takes a lot for him to break out of his shell and tell his story, but the support is making it easier.
Alkhafaji fled from Iraq, enlisted in the U.S. Army and served overseas as an interpreter for nine years. But when he got home, he couldn't find a job and ended up sleeping in his car.
"I felt left behind," Alkhafaji said. "That was painful. Not sleeping, thinking, 'What did I do wrong to end up sleeping in a car?'"
It lasted three months until the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helped him find a home. But he had absolutely nothing to put in it.
That's where Julie Nagle, of Humble Designs, came in. The company has a warehouse in Pontiac filled with donated goods. It works with homeless people once they get a home and provides furniture for free.
"Because they're sleeping on the floor," Nagle said. "We give them a home."
A new space in Dearborn will do the same, but for veterans.
"So it's kind of like a department store of donated goods," Nagle said.
U-Haul of Detroit recently bought the building and donated 11,000 square feet of it to Humble Designs.
AAA of Michigan provided the manpower for a transformation. Now veterans can transform their lives, too.
"It wasn't just hope," Alkhafaji said. "That light at the end of the tunnel."
This year, Humble Designs will help 52 veterans from the new location. Next year, the company hopes to help three families each week, meaning more than 150 families will be helped.
You can watch Nick Monacelli's full story in the video posted above.
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